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Today’s post comes from National Declassification Center Archives Specialist Stephanie Coon.

In today’s digital world, we receive emails that make us wonder how we ended up on a mailing list for such a group or product. The same goes for snail mail, when advertisements for candy companies or random catalogs appear in your mailbox. In the 1940s and 1950s, being on the mailing list for an “undesirable group” could mean an investigation into your loyalty, and for federal employees, the end of your career.

In 1947, President Truman issued Executive Order (E.O.) 9835, which established the first loyalty program in the United States, designed to root out communist influence in the federal government. The E.O. created the Employee Loyalty Board to conduct name checks of federal employees, and authorized further investigations upon discovery of derogatory information. Agents applied additional scrutiny if there were indications of espionage, treason, disclosure of confidential information, advocacy of violent overthrow of the U.S. government or membership in a subversive organization.

Pollack Archives letter

The executive order created the Attorney General’s List of Subversive Organizations (AGLOSO). Appearing on the mailing list for one of these groups led to an investigation into the loyalties of federal employees. In 1941, Federal Register and National Archives employee, Melvin Pollack, found himself as a subject of investigation because his name appeared on the mailing lists of the American Peace Mobilization, the Washington Committee for Democratic Action and the American League for Peace and Democracy.

In spite of the risks, Pollack willingly appeared before the FBI to answer questions regarding his loyalties. He admitted to being a member of the American League for Peace and Democracy, which he joined because of their boycott of Japanese goods in support of the Chinese people. Pollack’s statement said that he never participated in any activities but joined for social rather than political reasons.

American League of Peace and Democracy  acknowledgement

The investigation did not find further derogatory information. In a move that was rare for these cases, Pollack’s boss, Archivist of the United States Solon J. Buck, sent a letter to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover defending Pollack, and thus ended the inquiry.

Over the course of the ten years, over two million federal employees underwent initial investigations because of the name checks. According to Wikipedia, officials dismissed 378 employees for spying, and another 5000 federal employees voluntarily resigned.

Archivists letter

This case file is located in the Federal Bureau of Investigation Classification 101 – Headquarters Case Files and Index (UD-UP 31), Folder 101-1720. This entry was declassified under NND 58337.

NDC New Releases

by on March 3, 2015


The NDC has released a listing of  62 entries that have completed declassification processing between December 1, 2014 and February 6, 2015 and are now available for researcher request. This release consists of records from both military and civilian agencies.

Highlights include:

  • Department of the Treasury, Briefing Books Prepared for Secretary W. Michael Blumenthal,
  • Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File: “N” (NODIS) Reels, 1975,
  • Department of State, Top Secret Central Foreign Policy Files (Telegrams) 1975,
  • Department of State, Human Rights Country Files,
  • Office of the Secretary of Defense, Records Relating to Civil Rights,
  • Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Status of Forces History File, 1967-1968, and
  • United States Army, Center for Military History Boxes Re: Vietnam

Requests to access the newly released records or to order copies should be directed to Archives 2 Reference at 301-837-3510 or archives2reference@nara.gov.

(When making a request, please cite the HMS Entry and Series Title.)

Prioritization Update

by on January 28, 2015


Today’s post comes from NDC Director Sheryl Shenberger and is an updated listing of prioritized NDC projects for final processing.

In my September 2014 blog post I offered a new option for prioritizing records that lack final processing: the opportunity for interested researchers to choose which series from a selected list should go the head of our queue. The following is an updated listing that combines status reports (in red) on those listed in the earliest posting with several new additions. As before, you can correspond with us via our ndc@nara.gov email box or by replying to this blog post.

  • REID 292485, RG 341 (U.S. Air Force), Entry UD 1001, “Assistant Chief Of Staff, Intelligence, Intelligence Report Files” – 1600 boxes (1.4M pages) Indexing started 6/15/2014 – 100% complete, included on Release List dated 15 September 2014, publically available.
  • REID108618, RG 255 (NASA), Entry A1 93-D, “Classified Numerical Files of Documents [NACA: Numerical File of Documents from the NACA Library, 1916-1962]” – 2,510 boxes (2.1M pages) Indexing started 7/18/2014 – 100% complete, included on Release List dated 15 September 2014, publically available.
  • REID 337873, RG 319 (Army Staff), Entry UD-WX 92, “Department Of The Army CMH Boxes Re Vietnam” – 190 boxes (450K pages) Indexing started 9/08/2014 – 100% complete and queued up for the next Release List.
  • REID 374812, RG 338, (U.S. Army Operational, Tactical, and Support Org. (WW II and Thereafter), Entry UD-UP 77, “Classified Records of U.S. Army Commands Transferred from the National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO” – 479 boxes (1.2M pages) Indexing started 10/06/2014 – 40% complete.
  • REID 163442, RG 72 (Bureau of Aeronautics), Entry UD 1047, “Technical Information Library Collection” – 8,038 boxes (6.7M pages) Indexing started 8/28/2014 – 50% complete.
  • REID 156444, RG 74 (Bureau of Ordinance), Entry A1 1021-A, “Scientific and Technical Reports” – 1,661 boxes (4.1M pages)
  • REID 341575, RG 402 (Bureau of Naval Weapons), Entry UD-UP 19, “Confidential and Unclassified Subject Files, 1960” – 231 boxes (577K pages)
  • REID 346288, RG 402, (Bureau of Naval Weapons), Entry UD-WX 1728, “Technical Reports” – 222 boxes (555K pages)
  • REID 319094, RG 343 (Naval Air Systems Command), Entry UD-WW 198, “Air 604 TECH Reports 69; Acc. # 69-A-4901” – 220 boxes (550K pages)
  • REID 132240, RG 38 (Office of the Chief of Naval Operations), Entry A1 1009, “Office Of Naval Intelligence; Publications File” – 486 boxes (405K pages)
  • REID 384848, RG 38 (Office of the Chief of Naval Operations), Entry UD-UP 14, “Archives Branch Hist Record, 1971” – 150 boxes (375K pages)
  • REID 319134, RG 343 (Naval Air Systems Command), Entry UD-WW 211, “Correspondence Relating to the Message Section [Air 60324 PRIM PROGM Records 67-69; Acc. # 70-A-1635]” – 111 boxes (278K pages)
  • REID 157274, RG 19 (Bureau of Ships), Entry UD 1017-AR, “Secret General Correspondence, 1962” – 270 boxes (224K pages)
  • REID 149085, RG 72 (Bureau of Aeronautics), Entry UD 1005-E, “Enclosures to Secret Correspondence Files” – 286 boxes (237K pages)
  • REID 157340, RG 19 (Bureau of Ships), Entry UD 1017-AU, “Secret General Correspondence, 1965” – 288 boxes (238K pages)
  • REID 13489, RG 38 (Office of the Chief of Naval Operations), Entry A1 1003, “ONI; Administrative Branch; Administrative Correspondence; 1948-1956” – 238 boxes (197K pages)

 



The NDC has released a listing of 240 entries that have completed declassification processing between June 30 and October 10, 2014 and are now available for researcher request. This release consists of records from both military and civilian agencies.

Highlights include:

  • Department of the Treasury, Executive Secretariat Files,
  • Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), Office of Public Affairs, Subject Files
  • United States Marine Corps, Third Marine Division, Command Chronologies, 1965 – 1969,
  • National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA), Numerical File of Documents,
  • United States Air Force, Assistant Chief Of Staff, Intelligence, Intelligence Report Files,
  • United States Agency for International Development, Country and Subject Files, and
  • Atomic Energy Commission, Washington Liaison Office, Official Correspondence

Requests to access the newly released records or to order copies should be directed to Archives 2 Reference at 301-837-3510 or archives2reference@nara.gov.

(When making a request, please cite the HMS Entry and Series Title.)

Rum and Diplomacy

by on November 14, 2014


Today’s post comes from National Declassification Center Archives Specialist Dr. Amanda Weimer.

Jose Pepín Bosch was a man of action.  Having married into the Bacardi family in 1922, Bosch led the spirits company now known as Bacardi Limited from November 1944 until 1976.  A Cuban patriot, he helped to emphasize the Cuban character integral to the brand identity. He also played a lasting role in Cuban politics: in addition to serving as Minister of the Treasury during the early 1950s, between 1931 through the 1960s Bosch helped to finance and procure arms for uprisings against the Machado, Batista, and Castro governments.
 
Bosch regularly looked for assistance away from Cuba to ensure the survival of both the Bacardi company and the Bacardi family.  He succeeded in boosting sales for Bacardi’s U.S. subsidiary, and securing a location for U.S.-based production of Bacardi rum ultimately located in Puerto Rico, saving the company from bankruptcy and shepherding Bacardi’s transition to an international brand. Initially a supporter of Fidel Castro’s revolution against the Batista regime, Bosch’s shrewdness–in moving ownership of the company’s trademarks, recipes and other assets away from the island–ensured the company’s survival after Cuba’s communist government nationalized Bacardi’s Cuban assets in late 1960.  He also supported both overt and covert action against communist Cuba, including the bombing of the country’s oil refineries and CIA-led plots to assassinate Castro himself, during which time he worked closely with the Department of State’s vice-consul in Santiago, Bill Patterson.
 
Bosch had cultivated relationships with U.S. diplomats for many years by that point, as can be seen in this newly-released 1948 letter from Ellis O. Briggs of the American Embassy in Montevideo, Uruguay to Robert F. Woodward of the Department of State’s Office of American Republic Affairs.  In this letter, Briggs describes a confidential conversation had with his friend, Bosch, wherein Bosch revealed his knowledge of the movement of arms previously used in a Cuban uprising to have been used in an uprising in Costa Rica.
 
Bacardi LetterBacardi LetterPage 2
 
This letter can be found in the General Records of the Department of State. Bureau of Inter-American Affairs. Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary. Subject Files, 1945-1956. National Archives Identifier 2108781. Folder “Caribbean – Revolutionary Activities – General, 1947-1949, 1950-1951.”  The letter was declassified via FOIA case NW 42365.
 
 
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